Last week I wrote a blog post about the meetings you should have with your Executive, where I detailed the meetings you should set up in your Executive’s diary that focuses on the work that the two of you need to move the business forward. I thought it would be useful to dive a little deeper into your Executive’s calendar and look at the meetings that should be in your Executive’s schedule regularly. This list will help you build your Executive’s schedule so that they are meeting and seeing the right people.
What meetings should make it into your Executive’s schedule?
15 minute daily catch up with Assistant
I know this seems a lot of time for some Assistants with busy Executives but trust me, you need 15 minutes of their time every day (and 15 minutes is the minimum amount of time you should spend together). You should be running their calendar and no matter how busy, or where they are in the world; you need to schedule 15 minutes with them to catch up.
Project check-in meetings
Your Executive should be meeting weekly with their team on critical projects, particularly if they are part of the team or they are the key stakeholder. These project check-in meetings should be no longer than half an hour; they absolutely must have an agenda and should only be for those in the team who are required for feedback and moving the project forward. If your organisation uses a project management tool such as Asana or Trello, these meetings do not need to update meetings (because everyone can see on the platform where each is with a task). Instead, the meeting should be about driving the objectives and goals forward, who can help, what needs to get done and where the roadblocks are.
Catch up with Assistant
You need a slightly longer weekly catch up with your Executive so that you can plan the schedule, deal with the paperwork and look at where you are with goals and objectives along with ongoing projects and the to-do list.
Catch up with Assistant
The monthly goal and objective planning will help you plan out your Executive’s calendar for the month, along with the tasks that you both need to focus on.
1:1 with direct reports
Your Executive should touch base with their direct reports once a month (if they have a large team, it should be decided on who needs the most attention and potentially the 1:1 becomes a bi-monthly meeting for some of the direct reports). Again, these meetings should have agendas and focus on moving the business forward. We have a great post on how to manage your Executive’s 1:1 meetings here.
1:1 with their boss (or NED, Chairman, investor or critical clients)
Everyone has someone they have to report to, even if your Executive is the CEO they will have clients and investors that they have to make time for and want to engage with. Make sure you schedule time with the VIPs at least once a month.
As most teams are now working on collaborative tools, the need for weekly team meetings has lessened, but it is still useful to meet and share ideas, discuss projects, key actions and collaborate face to face (or virtually if the team is remote). The team meeting (this can be a team if your Executive has one to manage or your Executive’s direct reports) should come together once per month to discuss the key milestones that have been met over the last month, what is outstanding and what impact their projects have in the broader business. As with every meeting, this should have an agenda and last no more than an hour.
Depending on how many boards your Executive sits on, these meetings can take up a lot of your Executive’s time. Ideally, board meetings should be set a year in advance so that everyone knows when they are and how long they are going to take (usually half a day). Board papers should be sent in advance of the meeting, and your Executive should have time in the diary to prepare for the meeting adequately.
Quarterly strategic review with Assistant
If you want to be seen as a strategic business partner, you have to know what the strategy is! Attend meetings with your Executive that drives the strategy forward so that you don’t have to hear through the grapevine what is going on and schedule quarterly strategic reviews with your Executive to make sure that their time is being spent on the right things.
Quarterly planning meetings
Your Executive should set quarterly planning meetings with their direct reports and any project teams they work with. These planning meetings should be scheduled in advance of the quarter. In these meetings, your Executive should be focusing on setting the agenda for the quarter ahead, based on data they have received from their team and from their project managers. They will need this to see where the organisation’s overall performance rates and what needs to happen if there are any project risks or roadblocks. During the planning meeting, the team should set out the objectives and KPIs for the rest of the quarter.
Many Executive’s sit on Committees either within the organisation or externally. Similar to board meetings, Committee meetings should be scheduled in advance, and your Executive should be fully briefed on what to expect at the session.
Twice-yearly performance review
Your Executive should be conducting full year and half-yearly performance reviews with their team. These should be scheduled in advance for their team, and all the paperwork and supporting documents should be with your Executive in advance of the meeting so that enough time is granted for the team member to receive a full appraisal and to set their objectives. Don’t forget to include yourself in these meetings!
Annual planning meetings
Your Executive should hold a yearly meeting to review everything that has happened in that year and the performance on the team and departments that report into them. They should also plan the following year’s priorities and goals.
There will always be other meetings that have to make their way into your Executive’s schedule, including meetings with new members of staff, operational issues and client meetings. Nevertheless, the best schedules are those that allow for flexibility but have a structure so that your Executive knows what they are doing and what they have coming up.